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Full text of "Publications of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society"

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942.5901 

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1782065 



REYMOLns H]STnvr>icAL 
GENEALOGY COLLECTION 



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Digitized by the Internet Archive 
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N? XL 

SPECIMENS OF COLLEGE PLATE. 



WITH THIRTEEN PLATES. 



CAMBRIDGE: 

PRINTED AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS. 
PUBLISHED BY J. & J. J. DEIGHTON, AND T. STEVENSON; 
JOHN W. PARKER, LONDON; 

AND 

J. H. PARKER, OXFORD. 

M.DCCC.XLV. 



SPECIMENS^ 

OF 

COLLEGE PLATE. 



BY 

THE REV. J. J. SMITH, 

FELLOW AND TUTOR OF GONVILLE AND CAIUS COLLEGE. 



WITH THIRTEEN PLATES. 



CAMBRIDGE: 

PRINTED AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS. 

PUBLISHED BY J. & J. J. DEIGHTON, AND T. STEVENSON: 
JOHN W. PARKER, LONDON; 

AND 

J. H. PARKER, OXFORD. 

M.DCCC.XLV. 



CAMBRIDGE ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY. 



/ 

PRESIDENT. 

The Rev. Robert Willis, M.A., F.R.S., F.G.S., Jacksonian Professor. 
TREASURER. 

Charles Cardale Babington, M.A., F.L.S., F.G.S., St John's 
CoUege. 

SECRETARY. 
Charles Wycliffe Goodwin, M.A., St Catharine's Hall. 

COUNCIL. 

The Rev. George Elwes Corrie, B.D., St Catharine's Hall, Nor- 

risian Professor. 
Sir Henry Dryden, Bart., M.A., Trinity College. 
The Rev. James Goodwin, B.D., Corpus Christi College. 
William Bent Grenside, Esq., Trinity College. 
Alexander J. Beresford Hope, M.A., M.P., Trinity College. 
The Rev. Charles William King, M.A., Trinity College. 
James Packe, M.A., Vice-Provost of King's College. 
The Rev. John Power, M.A., Pembroke College, 
The Rev. John James Smith, M.A., Gonville and Caius College. 
The Rev. Ralph Tatham, D.D., Master of St John's College. 
The Rev. William Webb, D.D., F.L.S., Master of Clare Hall. 
Henry Annesley Woodham, M.A., F.S.A., Jesus College. 

AUDITORS. 

Frederic Thackeray, M.D., Emmanuel College. 

The Rev. Edward Ventris, M.A., St Peter's College. 



COLLEGE PLATE. 



1782065 

Some time has elapsed since the Society first authorized the design of pubhshing on 
its account a selection of examples to illustrate the subject of the above title. 

It is a subject possessing considerable interest of a mixed character. For an 
account of it involves historical details of customs, manners, wealth, and art. The 
editor of the following paper has followed out this view with some particularity 
in a paper inserted in a work entitled ' The Cambridge Portfolio.'' For this 
reason, and especially because it is requisite here to keep within narrow bounds, 
he forbears enlarging on the view above opened. 

The examples of College Plate which have come under observation, as pos- 
sessing superior interest, either historical or belonging to works of art, are the 
following : — 

I. The Drinking Horn, in Corpus Cliristi College. 

II. The Foundress' Cup, in Pembroke College. 

III. The 'Anathema Cup,' in Pembroke College. 

IV. The 'Poison Cup,' in Clare Hall. 

V. The Foundress"' two Cups, in Christ's College ; her Salt, and Apostle Spoons. 

VI. Abp. Parker's Salt, and Apostle Spoons, in Corpus Christi College. 

VII. The ' Three Kings ' Cup, in Corpus Christi College. 

VIII. Abp. Parker's Cup, in the same College. 

There are several others belonging to the Plate given to the Col- 
lege by this benefactor. 

IX. Abp. Parker's Ewer and Platter. 

X. Two Cocoa-nut Cups, a Quart Cup and a Silver Mug, in Gonville and 

Caius College. 

XI. The Founder's Cup, in Emmanuel College. 

XII. The Cup of Gold, in Clare Hall. 

Of these it is intended either to offer some representation and description, or to 
refer to sources where such want may be best supplied. Tradition gives a few broad 
facts, and usage has framed a few household terms in application to these articles. 

I. A representation of this object has been given more than once. In the 
Archseologia, Vol. in. 19, is a plate from a drawing by M. Tyson, in 1772, who 
had been fellow of the College ; and the engraving is accompanied with an account 
descriptive and historical. A like account is given in the present Master's edition 
of the History of the College, p. 9, and 409. An engraving, in lithograph, by 
Rawhns, from a drawing of it by Sir H. Dryden, Bart., is inserted together with 
an account at p. 296 of the Cambridge Portfoho. 

1—2 



4 



COLL KG IS I'LATK. 



II. For the following account wo are indebted to the accurate and laborious 
History of the College, which has been drawn up in manuscript, by the present 
Master. 

Marie do S. Paul, widow of Aymer de Valence Earl of Pembroke, bequeathed 
to the Society which she founded under the name of Valence-Marie College, a 
silver-gilt cup', which is included in her will under the description of "adornemens. 
roliques, joiaux, et autres choses." 

In an entry in the Registrum Membran., made in 1490, we have the follow- 
ing notice : 

Fundati'ix nostra dedit nobis plurima jocalia: 

Imprimis, duas pelves argenteas cum armis fundatricis nostrse, et duo lavacra argentea: 
Item septem pecias^ planas cum armis fundatricis : 

Item unam niagnani murram cum armis staccatis' in fundo ; cum aliis jocalibus plurimis 
in capella et thesauraria. 

If we suppose this murra to be the cup at present remaining, there must be 
a wrong description in one point, as that cup is not ornamented with the armorial 
bearings of the countess. The mistake in the entry may easily have befallen a 
careless observer, from the fact of the arms being engraved on the other articles 
of plate. 

In Registro Magno, an Inventory taken in 1491, p. 11 — 16, we find the 
following entry, though apparently added at a later date : 

Item duo magna salsaria deaurata quorum unum habet coopertorium cum pilo in summitate 
ex dono Magistri Ricardi Sokbom legum doctoris et hujus CoUegii quondam socii. 

After which follows another entry in different ink : 

Item una murra argentea deaurata cum scriptura circuiente God help at ned et cum 
coopei-torio ligneo pilam argenteam et deauratam in summitate liabente. Item 13 coccliaria 
argentea deaurata cum calamis cacuminatis in modum turris, ex dono praefati doctoris Sokbom. 

From this entry it does not appear certain whether the murra was intended 
to be described as Sokborn's gift or not; but the circumscription is that of the 
Foundress' Cup. 

But the first certain notice of this cup is in an Inventory of 1.546. 
Item pecia stans cum coopertorio ligneo ^ my Ladle's cup. 

In an Inventory of 1606, Bishop Andrewes being Master, it appears that the 
College still possessed one Bason and Ewer, the former weighing 39 oz., the latter 
16|^ oz., and the Cup weighing 20 oz. And these, as we learn from Bishop Wren, 
who was at that time fellow of the College, were all that remained of the plate 
given by the Foundress. 

In later times, however, a ti'adition has prevailed, that, at some period or 
other, an exact imitation of the Cup was made, and that one, it was not known 
which, was lost. The fact of such a duplicate having been made is established by 

^ There is an engraving of it in Lysons' Britannia, ii. p. 106. 
^ Pecia, Angl. piece. 
Impaled, from staca a stake or pale. 



COLLEGE PLATE. 



5 



Bishop Andrewes's will (bearing date September 22nd, 1626,) which contains the 
following clause : 

"Item, I further give and bequeath to the said Master, Fellows and Scholars, and their 
successors, the Bason and Ewer of silver, parcel-gilt, which I caused to be made in imitation 
as near as could be to the Foundress her Bason and Ewer with her arms in the midst of the 
Bason. And also I give and bequeath to them the Cup of silver-gilt, which I likewise caused 
to be made in imitation, as near as could be, to the Foundress' Cup, commonly called My 
Ladle's Cup, as a poor memorial and thankful remembrance of that good lady, by whose bounty 
I was so long maintained at my book there." 

When, in 1641-2, all the Colleges made contributions of plate to king Charles 
I., Pembroke joined with the rest in sending all that they could spare. In a cor- 
respondence which took place between the Mastei's of Pembroke and Jesus Colleges, 
relative to the bequest of Bishop Wren, who, by his will in 1665, directed that 
such of his plate as Pembroke had not occasion for, should go to Jesus College, 
Dr Mapletoft, the Master of Pembroke, thus accounts for the small share of the 
bequest which remained over for Jesus College : " Pembroke Hall had a little of 
their old Communion Plate, for pure necessity, a Paten, a Chalice, a Flagon, (the 
rest was sent to the king, to relieve him in the beginning of the rebellion.)" 

No doubt Bishop Andrewes''s copy of the Cup was given with the other plate 
at that time. For we can hardly suppose that the Society would have sent the 
original and retained the copy ; especially as in point of the value of the metal, 
one was probably as precious as the other. Nor could any uncertainty exist at 
the time of the Restoration, in 1660, of the fellows ejected in 1643-4, as to which 
Cup had been thus disposed of ; for they must have had a clear recollection of both 
Cups, and most of them had taken part in the contribution. An Inventory taken 
at the Restoration describes the plate in the treasury to be " One flagon, one chalice 
and paten. One Anathema Cup, gilt. The Foundresse her Cup." 

The weight of the Cup is stated in the earliest catalogues to be 20 oz. In 
the Inventory taken by William Sampson, 1673, it is stated to be 20 oz. 3 dwt. 
On a recent weighing, it proved to be 21 oz. 17 dwt.; the increase may be ac- 
counted for by a quantity of lead which has been most injudiciously employed for 
the two-fold purpose of hindering leakage, and of uniting more firmly the cup and 
the stem, which appear to have been originally fastened together by a nut and 
screw. The form consisted of bowl, stem, and base; the latter encircled by a rope- 
like ring, such as connects the cup and stem, and ornamented with a coronet^- 
This was lately removed as decidedly not appertaining to the original, but shewn by 
the coronet to belong to the age of the Tudors. It was most probably added be- 
fore 1584, (when the weight is assigned 20 oz.), in order to give it steadiness. 
Since the separation by the saw, the cup and stem weigh 17 oz. 16 dwt. 
On the bowl of the Cup is the following inscription ; 

Sayn denes y' es me d're 

For hes lof drank and raak gud cher 

* Such as is the case of the Foundress' Quart-Cup in Christ's College. An engravixig of it with 
this base is given in Shaw's Decorations of the Middle Ages. 



6 



COI.MCGK I'l.ATE. 



And on the stem, 

V M 
God help at nod. 

There is also at the bottom of the bowl the letter M, doubtless the initial of 
the donors name. 

The V and M are of later workmanship than the rest, and are on opposite 
sides of the stem, so that there is nothing to shew which has precedence. The 
most obvious explanation is that they stand for the name Valence-Marie. 

Mr Cole, well known among antiquaries, conjectures either ' God help at need, 
Mary de Valentia."' Or, ' O blessed Virgin Mary, send us good help at need.' This 
second interpretation supposes the word god before help, to mean good, which cannot 
be, as this latter word is spelled gud on the bowl. The single M in the interior 
of the bowl he interprets Mementote. 

The care, which has been taken by the present Master of Pembroke in search- 
ing into all the records connected with this interesting memorial of ancient 
munificence, may redeem the College from the imputation cast by Mr Cole on 
the then existing members of the body. He dined in the hall of Pembroke College, 
on January 1st, 1773, and writes thus: 

"The inscription not a soul could read in the College, and the tradition of it was for- 
gotten. — I could not help admiring the utter indifference of the company and fellows in the 
hall concerning the antiquity of the Cup and its inscription'." 

III. It will be perceived that the inscription supplies the current title of this 
Cup. The denunciation there written, however, has not saved the cover. 

The Inventory (1584) describes it as gilt: it was doubly gilt, though it is now 
little more than silver. The weight is given, 67 oz., with the cover ; without it, 
39 ^ oz. Mr Parkin, in his MSS., Vol. VI., PembroJce, Thos. Langton, notes it 
as the ' oldest piece of plate remaining' ; thus exhibiting the ignorance of a Pem- 
brochian about points of the greatest domestic interest. 

IV. The origin of this piece of plate so singular in its composition, like the 
glass enclosed within its veil of filagree, is wrapped in the shroud of uncertainty ; 
yet is the mystery not so deep as to defy the influence of romance. 

It is of course called the Foundress' cup : for record runs not to the contrary ; 
and certainly it is worthy of that renown. A mysterious stone crowns the lid, which 
boasted to possess a charm against the traitor's deadly malice : for, if the draught 
presented in this cup were poisoned, that stone would surely split. Nothing further 
remains to be said of importance, either in the view of history or description. The 
curious cup is preserved with all becoming regard under the charge of the Master 
of the College. 

V. Of old a cup of silver, or silver-gilt, was common as a gift-article; it was 
the usual entrance-fee of a ' Pensionarius Major," or Fellow-commoner ; and modern 

* MSS. in Brit. Mus. Vol. xlii. p. 241. 



COLLEGE PLATE. 



7 



usage exhibits the like practice in the rewards of all kinds of competition, from the 
flower-show to the race and regatta. The old practice alluded to is fondly remem- 
bered at the College-board in the solemn passing of the time-honoured Founder's 
Cup at the commemoration feast. 

In the examples now to be described, the claim to the title of ' Foundress'' Cup ' 
seems to rest on tradition or common repute : however, the design, execution, and 
ornament, bespeak them to be of that antiquity. If they had been always as care- 
fully regarded, as now they are much admired, their history would have been easily 
and certainly told. They are now in excellent conditit)n, both of them silver-gilt. 

The general design of the larger Cup is formed on the cone, the different portions 
being divided by mouldings, plain and enriched ; and the surfaces partly burnished, 
partly adorned with stamped figures. 

The basement is part inclined, part upright : this latter showing in succession a 
plain band, a border of rose-bearing sprays, a plain band, and then a coronet of 
fleur-de-lis. 

From the top of the flowers, with rather awkward eflect, rises the conical stem, 
terminated by a cable moulding. The surface is adorned with a border of oak -leaf 
and acorn, of rose and leaf, and of strawberry-leaf and fruit, in which the leaves, 
stalk, and fruit, are burnished or partly engraved on, and placed on a friezed ground 
sprinkled with dots engraved. These borders lie spirally round the stem, with burnished 
space intervening. 

The bowl is conical, the bottom resting on the stem and overhanging, as a 
bladder containing liquid would do upon anything pressing under it. The lip is plain. 

The cover is of two cones relatively inverted : at the bottom is an upright portion 
exactly like to that described in the basement. The surface of this bears five borders 
of oak, rose, and strawberry, similar to those on the stem, spirally arranged. At 
the junction of the cones is a plane knot of loops indented at their edge. 

The upper cone, inverted, is surmounted by a turban, as it were, the upright sur- 
face of which is relieved with a band of quatrefoil and cable, each between two plain 
round bands or threads ; and to it are affixed, at equal intervals, six pendant pinnacles- 

The flat top bears a rose, just such is shown in the etching of the Salt. 

Within the bowl, at the bottom, upon a cinquefoil surface of green enamel, 
slightly raised, is a shield bearing quarterly France and England, within a hordure 
argent, impaling gules on a chevron argent three etoiles sable. 

The Pint-QiVi^ is in character of shape more squat and depressed. 

The surface throughout is covered scale-wise with segments of circular rings, 
burnished, the included spaces being lined with thread-marks. 

The basement has its upright part at the top, consisting of a series of plain mouldings 
enclosing a border of rope and one of quatrefoil, surmounted by an embattled edge. 

The stem is separated from the bowl by a burnished cable-band. 

The cover hangs its edge over the plain lip of the bowl, and rises with an 
upright portion, a repetition of the corresponding part in the basement. It is in 
four tiers of gently ascending surfaces, and then shoots up in a conical form towards 



8 



(;()r,i,Kc;i? I'I.atk. 



ail iijx'x ; tlKMi ;il)()vo a spreading plate, wliich Bcparates the two edges, it expands 
ill an inverted cone to a turban-head, which is encircled with a band of quatref'oil 
and circle of cable-moulding, surmounted by embattled edge. This turban-head has 
six pinnacles attached round it at equal distances. The top bears an enamelled 
sliield with those arms : argent a chevron between three .... heads sable, as many etoiles 
of the field: a crescent of the second for difference. Those heads are so strangely 
painted that it is impossible to tell whether they are meant for rooks, swans, 
wiverns, serpents, or fish. It seems most likely, from consideration of the arms, 
that' the larger Cup belonged to Humphrey, Duke of Glocester, the Protector, 
Shakespears "Duke Humphrey;" and from him descended to the Lady Margaret, 
and thus came into possession of the College. 

The 'Audit Cup,' containing a quart, weighs 42oz. lOdwt ; the pint Cup SOoz. 
The dimensions of each are these : 

Of the Quart Cup. Inches. Of the Pint inches. 

Height of Cup and cover 13 10 

.... Cup 71 6 

Depth of the bowl at the side ... 3 2 

in the middle ... 2 

Length of the stem 3 

Height of the base 2 

Diameter of the lip Q\ 5 

bottom of the bowl . . 2i 4 

bottom of the basement . 4|^ 4^^ 

top 3| ..... 31 

Height of the upright portion of the cover 11 

upper cone f 

turban ... 1 

Diameter of the bottom of the cover . 61 51 

The Salt will not need description. Its content is very small compared with 
the whole mass, and the interior form is well adapted to allow of the salt escaping 
before the spoon when inserted, for it is curved and very shallow. The weight 
of this piece is 26oz. lOdwt. 

^ For this conjecture, and for the emblazoning, I am indebted to the Rev. A. M. Hopper, Fellow of 
S. John's College. His argument is this: The Plantagenet arms are exactly those that he bore: his wife 
was Elinor Cobham, the arms of whose family are Gu. on a chevr. or three etoiles sa. : these are exactly 
the same as the arms impaled on the shield, with one slight difference, viz. that the chevron is arg. instead 
of or. Now I have looked through the intermarriages of the different branches of the royal family, and 
no member of it impales arms in any way similar to these, except the Duke of Gloucester. The slight 
difference of colour in one single point, while the rest of the shield is exactly the same, may be accounted 
for on the supposition that the enameller made the mistake in the painting, or, what is more likely, from 
the circumstance that in those times younger branches of a great family often changed the colour of their 
bearings, or made some alteration in them, to serve as a distinction of their own branch, without changing 
the general character of the whole bearings of the shield. The Cobhams of Sterborough, of whom Lady 
Elinor was one, were a younger branch of the lords Cobham. I cannot help therefore thinking that it is 
almost certain that the arms on the cup are those of the Protector Gloucester: he died without issue, 
and therefore the cup may very well have descended to Lady Margaret. 



COLLEGE PLATE. 



9 



The weight of the spoons is 9oz. 9dvvt, 

The plate mark, on the flat edge of the base, is a fish, a crowned head, and the 
letter H, in separate stamps. 

There is a Mug, of singular character, at present kept in store, not in use. 
The form is a cylinder, slightly diminishing in diameter upwards, and standing on a 
high basement of unequally undulated outline. The surface is engraved with rose and 
portcullis within lozenges, the fleur-de-lis appearing above and below, in the segments 
of the lozenges, made by bands surrounding the bottom and top and middle. This 
would appear certainly to have been the property of the Foundress. 

The plate mark is the same as above-mentioned, and the weight is 25oz. lOdwt. 

VI. These beautiful specimens of ancient plate are part of the munificent gifts 
of the famous Archbishop Parker, to the ancient and religious foundation of which 
he had been master from 1544 to 1.553. These gifts appear to have been bestowed 
upon his College at different periods of time : being partly made by him during his 
lifetime, after his exaltation to the primacy, and partly bequeathed^ by him as a 
legacy, after his death, which took place in 1575. Thus, in an acquittance of plate, 
delivered to the College by John Parker, Esq., the Ai-chbishop's son and heir, the 
plate therein mentioned is said to have been given, partly in the life of the Arch- 
bishop, and partly since his decease. In all of such acquittances and other contempo- 
raneous documents the present specimens are noticed. In a tripartite indenture, made 
Aug. 6, 1569, betwixt the three Colleges of Corpus Christi, 'Gunwell and Caius,'' and 
Trinity Hall, which seems to be a joint acknowledgment of the Archbishop's bene- 
factions to them, they are thus described ; " Item one greate Salte with the Couer of 

Siluer and whole gilte. xl. oz Item xiij Spones, whole gilte, with knoppes of 

Christe and his xij Apostells, for the vse of the M" and xij fellowes for the time being, 
xxvi. oz." Again, in an acquittance, dated Aug. 10, 1576, and consequently after the 
Archbishop's death, the " thirtene spones" are said to be " of siluer gilte with the 
pictures of Chryste and the Apostells." 

The salt-cellar is elegant in form, and stands about 11^ inches in height, the feet 
and lid being included. The feet, which are three in number, represent the fore-part 
of some strange mythological animal, apparently three-toed and web-footed. On these 
is placed a highly ornamented base or circular moulding, three quarters of an inch 
in depth ; the larger diameter of which base is 5^, and the smaller 3|- inches. Im- 
mediately above this basal moulding the body of the salt-cellar is perfectly cylindrical, 
and very richly chased. The height of the cylindrical part is 4^ inches. At equal 
distances from each other, in the middle section or circumference, it is decorated with 
three different heads of horned satyrs surrounded by oval borders ; and on narrow 

^ " Do et lego Sociis Corp. Christi Cantdbrigiee vulgo vocat. Bennet College (ubi primes progressus in 

Uteris fecerim) unum saliniim cum operculo deaurat. 40 oz unum cochleare 

deaurat. et duodecim alia deaurat. ponder. 26 oz. dim. et quart, dim." Testament urn Matthaei. D. Archiep. 
Cant. See Strype's Appendix to Life of Parker, Book iv. No. C. p. 187. fol. 

Plate mark, a lion or leopard ; the other mark undecipherable. 
2 



10 



COLLEQE I'[,ATE. 



circuinfeiential baiuls, at cither end, are engraved in Roman characters the following 
inscriptions. 

On the lower band : 
SALIN VM + HOC + CVM : PIXIDE : PRO + PIPERE : IN : OPERCVLO + CVM : 13 
CGCLEARIBYS + DEAVRATIS : QV^ + IIENT : CIIRVM : ET + APLOS + 
PONDERANT : oz 64. 

On the upper band : 

MATTHJiVS + ARCIIIEPVS + CANTVARIENSIS + DEDIT + COLLEGIO + CORPORIS 
+ CIIRISTI + CANTABRIGI^ + PRIMO : SEPTEMBRIS + ANNO + DNI : 1570 + 

The cylindrical part, just spoken of, forms the principal body of the salt-cellar, and 
is capped above by another highly ornamental circular moulding, the dimensions of 
which are exactly equal to those of the base. On the upper part of this moulding is 
placed a shallow margin corresponding to and fitting the lid or cover, and surrounding a 
spherical bowl, 3^ inches in diameter by 11 inches in depth, for the purpose of con- 
taining the salt. 

The lid or cover, including the part which is used for a pepper-box, is altogether 
inches in height, and very elegant in shape. It -is highly ornamented and chased, 
and immediately above the base of the pepper-box are placed, as before, at equal dis- 
tances from each other, three curious projecting figures of sea-horses, or some other 
mythological marine animal. There seems, however, to be no mode of opening the 
last-mentioned vessel so as to fill it with the pungent dust intended to occupy it. 
Probably it was filled through the very few and somewhat large holes which are left 
at the top, and mark the purpose for which it was used. Our Elizabethan ancestors 
were perhaps more sparing in their use of pepper than many of our modern gourmands. 

With respect to the spoons but little need be said. They are each 7 inches in 
length. The bowls are of singular shape, being broader at the lower end, and are 
21 inches in length by 2 inches in breadth. The figures are about 11 inches in height, 
and all dressed in flowing robes, but not all of them capped with a crown of glory. 
Some are bearing crosses, others swords, and one of them is carrying an axe. They 
were, as it appears from one of the indentures above referred to, intended for the 
use of the master and fellows of Corpus Christi, the number of whom had been in- 
creased by Archbishop Parker from eight to twelve. 

The preceding description was furnished by the Rev. James Goodwin, Fellow 
of Corpus Christi College. An engraving of the salt is to be seen in Dibdin's 
Reminiscences of a Literary Life (Pref.p.xi.), but not quite worthy of its subject. 

The next article is the substance of a paper read before the Society by the same 
member of it in 1843. 

VII. This piece, preserved among The Founder''s Plate, is a cup of small dimen- 
sions, having a shallow bowl, on the lip of which are inscribed the following words : 

Sagper ♦ meld^wr ♦ ialtijasar* 



COLLEGE PLATE. 



li 



These words are separated each from the other by a crown, and they are the names 
of those who are commonly called the three Kings of Cologne. As these names appear 
to have been connected with divers strange and obsolete superstitions, it will be 
desirable to say a few preliminary words concerning the notable personages who bear 
them, and likewise to mention a few of those superstitions. 

Jasper, Melchior, and Balthasar, are the names of the three very celebrated kings of 
Cologne, reputed to have been the identical magi, or "wiseards," as Sir John Cheke' calls 
them, who came from the East to Jerusalem, and presented their gifts unto the infant 
Jesus. Tradition has handed down to us the story, that these magi or wise men were 
three in number ; a circumstance which St Matthew does not notice at all, but which, 
no doubt, was of old invented in order to assign to each one of them the bearing of a 
particular gift to our Saviour. It was a not uncommon opinion of the early fathers, 
who perhaps were much too prone to discover antitypes for each of the minutest details 
of Scripture, that the gifts of the wise men to Christ were symbolical. " Matthseus," 
says Irenseus, " Magos ab oriente venientes ait dixisse, vidimus stellam ejus in oriente et 
venimus adorare eum, deductosque a stella in domum Jacob ad Emmanuel, per ea quse 
obtulerunt munera ostendisse, quis erat qui adorabatur; myrrham quidem, quod ipse 
erat, qui pro mortali humano genere morieretur et sepeliretur ; aurum vero, quoniam 
Rex, cujus regni finis non est ; thus vero, quoniam Deus, qui et notus in J udaea factus 
est, et manifestus iis qui non quserebant eum-." Upon a similar principle, therefore, I 
conceive that ancient superstition assigned three to be the real number of the wise men 
of the east, in order that each of them might be considered as the bearer of a particular 
gift, when they came from a far distant country to worship the infant Jesus, who was 
born king of the Jews. In correspondence with this opinion is the first fine on an old 
brass, presently to be mentioned : 

Samper fert i¥lprt1)am, Cftus: MMmXy 33altl)as!ar ^uriim. 

From this it seems that, as the gifts were of three different kinds, gold, frankincense, 
and myrrh, the symbolical meanings of them three, and representing our Lord in a 
threefold point of view, perhaps also pointing Him out in His tiHple character of King, 
Priest, and Prophet ; so likewise the bearers of these gifts were reputed to be three 
in number; and hence arose the tradition of the three wise men of the east, or the 
three kings of Cologne. 

Again, it is a matter of curious enquiry, wherefore has a kingly dignity been assigned 
to the eastern magi : for St Matthew has taken no notice whatever of their real rank 
and condition ; he merely designates them as being " wise men from the east." Now, 
although it be easy to form a conjecture on this point, yet a reference to ancient 
authority will, perhaps, be more satisfactory. In a neat pictorial representation of the 
Epiphany, which is found in a MS. of the fourteenth century^, belonging to the library 

' Translation of S. Matthew's Gospel, ch. ii. 1—11. 8vo, Lond. 1848. 

^ D. Ii-enaei adversus hsereses Valentin! et similium, Lib. iii. cap. x. See also Chrysostomi in 
Matthaeum. Horn. viii. 
» No. CLXIV. 

2—2 



12 



COI.LICGIC I'LATK. 



of Corpus Cliristi College, the magi are delineated in the act of presenting their gifts, 
each being adonKul with a golden crown. By way of illustrating the subject of this 
drawing, four half-length figures of the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, and David, 
are placed at the corners of it ; each of whom is made to be uttering a prophetic decla- 
ration respecting the Messiah and the coming of the Gentiles to Him\ The words 
which are put into the mouth of David ^ are taken from the tenth verse of Psalm 
Ixxii. the authorised version of which is as follows : 

" The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents : the kings of Sheba 
and Seba shall offer gifts."" 

The adorning, therefore, the magi with crowns of gold, and the designating them 
as kings, may, probably, have special reference to this particular prophecy. Perhaps 
also their number may have been reputed to be three, in order to render it more closely 
applicable to them, or in order to identify them with the kings of Sheba and Seba, 
of Tarshish and the isles. 

Such, then, is the probable origin of these two traditionary stories respecting the 
wise men of the east, which have for many centuries been received and acknowledged 
as authentic by the Roman catholic church. But, whatever be their real origin, it is 
somewhat satisfactory to know that appeal both may be, and has been, made in behalf 
of them at least to the bare letter of Holy Scripture. It would be well if all other 
Roman Catholic traditions and legends of saints were able to justify their claims to 
general acceptation and belief by a similar appeal to the pure word of God. 

The next thing is the reason why these three wise men are spoken of as being 
of the city of Cologne, so that, the three Kings of Cologne has become a common 
appellative of them. 

The following history will satisfy our enquiries in this particular. 

Helena, the mother of the famous emperor Constantine, was a person of obscure 
birth in Bithynia. While in that country she became the wife of Constantius Chlorus, 
but was subsequently divorced from him, after he had become associated in the empire. 
When Constantine became emperor, a.d. 306, he paid great honour to his mother 
Helena, and conferred on her the title of Augusta. At the age of eighty she made 
a journey to the Holy Land, where, it is said, she assisted at the discovery of the cross. 
Among other relics she is likewise said to have brought over with her to Constantinople 
the bones of the three eastern magi who presented their gifts to the infant Messiah. 
But these bones, it seems, did not find their final resting-place at Constantinople. Many 
centuries afterwards it came to pass that they were again removed, and transported 
from Constantinople to Cologne, by Rainold, archbishop of that see. Since their last 
removal to it, the "ill-built, ill-arranged, ill-fumigated^" city of Cologne has been the 

* The following verses ov explanation of the picture is given at the bottom of tlie page, being written 
in black letter: 

Plebs notat hec gentes Xpo iungi cupientes. 

Xps adoratur : auru, thus, mirra letatur. 

Hoc tipice gentem notat ad Xpm venientem. 
^ Reges Tharsis, et insule munera efferent. 
« Quarterly Review, 1834. No. cm. Art. ix. p. 213. 



COLLEGE PLATE. 



IS 



celebrated " abode of the skulls" of the three wise men of the east, and the relics 
made the subject of much superstitious veneration. A jubilee in commemoration of 
these kings is celebrated at Cologne every hundredth year ; the sixth and last of which 
was held on Sunday, July 23, 1764, and lasted eight days*. 

Hence, therefore, the eastern magi have been named the three kings of Cologne'' ; 
and even to the present day there remains, in the stupendous cathedral of that city, 
a magnificent mausoleum erected to their honour. " You are told," says Mrs TroUope, 
in her Tour through Belgium and Western Germany^ in 1833, "with the most grave 
and dignified assumption of historical tnith, that this splendid monument contains" their 
bones. " But let the bones contained in it," she adds, " be whose they may, the shrine 
itself is most superb ; and when you enter the little tabernacle in which it is deposited, 
there is something so mystically glowing in the eternal lamplight reflected by the 
gold and precious stones, — something so horrific in the three grim skulls protruding 
themselves from amidst the jewels with which they are encircled, for each one 

' The likeness of a kingly crown has on ;' 

and the whole scene is at once so ghastly, and so gorgeous, that, for the moment 
one is almost tempted to believe some real sanctity must be attached to the relics, 
which princes and prelates have for ages agreed to honour with such extravagant and 
strange devotion. The date of this singular monument is 1170'"'." 

As to the superstitions of old connected with the three famous eastern kings, 
it has been said of their reputed relics, as it has been said of all other popish relics and 
saints, that many miracles were wrought wherever they rested as they were transported 
to Cologne. No doubt Archbishop Rainold, by means of such pious frauds, very 
greatly enhanced his own merit in the sight of the good people of Cologne for having 
transported the relics thither. 

Again writes Sir Walter Scott in his beautiful tale of Quentin Buricard, "the 
kings of the blessed city of Cologne will not endure that a Jew or infidel should enter 
within the walls of their town"." It seems then that the presence of the relics of 
the three wise men was considered as a species of protection against the intrusion of 
the Jew, or the invasion of the infidel. 

Again, the carrying about on the person the names of the three kings was con- 
sidered as a sort of charm against the falling sickness. This I learn from the inscription 
on a loose brass, which was formerly in the old vestry of the church of St Peter 

* Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. xxxiv. p. 395. 

* Cologne appears to have been a favorite place of resort for itinerant visitors from the east, whe- 
ther dead or alive. In the Historical Chronicle of the Gentleman's Magazine for April, 1761, is the 
following : 

" Friday, 17. Two men arrived at Cologne, who say they come from Damascus, are 700 years old, 
and are sent by heaven to call men to repentance. They foretell the dissolution of the world in 1773, 
understand Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Chaldaic, and are sent to Rome for farther examination.""' 
Gentleman's Maga&ine, Vol. xxxl. p. 187. 

^ Mrs Trollope's Belgium and Western Gei-many, ch. vi. 

' Quentin Durward, ch. xvii. 



14 



COLLEGE PLATE. 



of Mancroft, in the city of Norwich, and has been before slightly alluded to. The 
brass is thus inscribed : — 

Sastprr ffit iWinrftam, Cbus: i^fldrljtor, ^Saltftagar ^urum, 
IKC tna qui mum portabit nomiua lUffum, 
^olbitur a iiflorljo, Cftnsiti lietate, raDuro, 

This very appropriate triplet of Latin verse has thus, by being translated into 
English, been converted into a quartetto : 

Myrrh, frankincense, and gold, the eastern kings 
Devote to Christ the Lord, as offerings: 
For which, of those, who their three names do bear, 
The falling sickness never need to fear. 

The author of the English translation is unknovi^n ; but the Latin verses are taken 
from a loose brass, vi'hich, says Bloraefield, was some time since in the old vestry 
of St Peter of Mancroft, in the city of Norwich, but it is not there now. 

How fond a tradition was this of the " three kings of Cologne," appears by the old 
heralds taking them in hand. In Harl. MSS. 2129, p. 112, we find "the S kinges 
of Cullen's coats," set down thus : 

Rex Melchior de CoUen, bears argent a star or, with a crescent or. 
Rex Balthasar de CoUen, bears sable a star or. 

Rex Jespar de CoUen, or a man sable pale face proper, in a coate purpur, hose 
sable, holding in his right hand a speare staff purpur hed proper, a banner thearat, 
the other hand on the breste. 

The probable date of admission of this cup into the College there are no means 
of ascertaining with accuracy. The stem is of silver gilt, and twisted in the form 
of a six-threaded screw. It is so contrived that it can at pleasure be separated from 
the bowl, the lower part of which is made of a dark brown and hard wood, extending 
as far as the first ornamental border. From thence to the top of the bowl the 
material is silver gilt, and just below the upper edge or lip of the cup is the band, 
about half an inch in depth, on which are engraven the names of the three kings, 
separated from each other by their respective emblems or crowns. The inside of the 
bowl contains, at the bottom, a circular and raised me- 
dallion, on which is engraven the singular representation 
of a squirrel sitting on the back of a large fish, and 
busily engaged in the act of cracking nuts, gathered by 
it, apparently, from a neighbouring bush. "What this 
quaint device may mean it is not perhaps very easy to 
say, or in what manner to connect it with the cup itself ; 
unless it be merely the private mark of the maker, who 
probably was some foreign artist. 




COLLEGE PLATE. 



15 



The dimensions of the cup are as follows : 



Diameter of bowl 
Depth of bowl... . 
Height of stem..., 
Diameter of base. 



41 inches. 
2 inches. 

inches. 
4 inches. 



Again, what is the purpose for which this cup was intended to be used ? The 
shape, the construction, and the mixed material of which it is made, alike combine 
to render it improbable that it could have been intended as a drinking cup, although 
it is capable of holding fluid. It seems most probable that its real object was to serve 
as an offering cup at some altar or shrine, either dedicated to the three kings, or 
at least where there was some picture and representation of them. This conclusion 
seems to be warranted by the evidence supplied from the little drawing which has been 
before referred to. There we see the kings, with their several gifts in their hands, 
contained, however, not in caskets, but in cups. The one who is kneeling down 
is presenting an open cup, apparently full of gold coin, into which the infant Saviour, 
while held by his mother on her knee, is dipping his hand. The other two, likewise, 
have similar receptacles in their hands for the frankincense and myrrh. The cup now 
before us may probably, therefore, have been intended to be used as a cup for offerings 
and gifts, to be placed upon and used at that altar or shrine, which had either been 
dedicated to the three kings, or where, at least, there was some painting, image, or 
any other kind of representation of them. 

VIII. The Archbishop''s splendid Ewer and Platter must be presented at some 
future time. They are beautiful specimens of engraved plate ; and are in excellent 
preservation, and condition. 

IX. The College herein mentioned possesses very few remnants of ancient plate, 
having experienced one of the reverses which befall worldly treasures, " that thieves 
break through and steal." This loss was the penalty on over-much security and un- 
watchfulness. The event above alluded to befel in 1801. The few relics, here 
mentioned, owe their preservation to the obscurity in which they abode, having been 
then long disused, and laid up in the College Treasury. Still, it would seem, there 
is a medium between the safety which is gained by disuse, and such use as pre- 
cludes safety. 

Archbishop Parker was a friend and confidant of the founder, Dr Caius; and 
testified his friendship by some recollection of the Founder's College. Amongst other 
marks of this feeling, he gave the plate mentioned under this number. 

(l) A quart cup, silver-gilt, 40 oz. in weight ; the number is under the 
foot, and vmc. 40 within the lid. The cover is surmounted with a figure, an infant 
Bacchus, whose right hand holds the thyrsus, and left rests on a standing shield. 



16 



COM.EGK PLATE. 



It is of sGvoral pieces, joined together by coarse contrivance. The body of the 



is this insci'iption : 

MATTHiEUS CANTUAR DEDIT COLLE" GUNWELL ET CAIUS, CANTAB. A". 1569 
V JAN. CONSEC'« SUiE XP. ET iETATIS SVJE GQ. 

Between each word a small rose is for distinction engraved. The height of this 
cup is 15 inches. 

(2) The mug, of silver, has a graceful shape ; it is a narrow cylinder on a 
broad basement : the surface is covered with a kind of scroll-work stamped on it. It 
bears this inscription : 

+ MATTHiEUS : ARCHIEPS : CANTUAR : DEDIT : COLLE" : GUNWELLI : ET : 
CAII : CANTAB : 1° JAN : A" : DI. 1571. 

And for the plate-mark a crowned head full front, opposite to a lion gardant pas- 
sant: on either side a letter, R and U. 



On the cover are Archbishop Parker's arms, and above it the weight mark, 
uncis 15 . S dwt. : but within is cut the figure 15 . 9. The plate mark is also there, 
and very clear. 

(3) The two Cocoa-nut Cups are alike in general character. The body is a 
cocoa-shell, mounted in silver-gilt : i. e. having the cover, lip, stem, and base of 
that substance. Silver-gilt ornamented braces gird the shell, connecting the lip and 
stand. 

In the smaller one the lid has a circlet of fleur-de-lis round its base, and the 
summit of its very nicely tapering cone is crowned with a pine apple. The foot of 
this Cup is plain. 

The larger Cup stands on three sitting lions : its basement is crowned with an 
embattled edge, the stem is conical, dotted over. The shell in this has been adorned 
with colour and gilding. The braces bear a cable band between two rows of fleur- 
de-lis. The lip is bounded below by a band of fleur-de-lis; and the space between 
this and the edge is scattered with flowers impressed. The cover rising up to some 
height, terminates in a pyramid surmounted by a cresent, which seems to connect 
the cup with another Founder, Bishop Bateman, who bore this crest. And thus 
this article would possess an interesting claim to antiquity of origin: for the date 
of the bishop's death was 1390, 



cup is adorned with a border of engraved leaf. Round the interior of the cover 



The height of the Mug and Cover is 

Mug 

Diameter of the base 

mouth . . . . , 




6 fin. 



COLLEGE PLATE. 



17 



The dimensions are as follow : 



Of the larger. 




0/ the smaller. 


Height of the Cup 


. 11 in. 


. . 10 in. 




• H 




Nut . . 


■ H 


■ ■ ■ H 


Length of lip . 


• H 


. . 1 in. 


Breadth of Cover . 


• H 


• . . 3| 


. Base . 


. 41. 



X. A brief notice of this appears in the Cambridge Port/olio, in the article 
upon Ancient Plate. 

XI. Such seems to have been its hereditary title, through the life of the College : 
moreover, the workmanship has always been attributed to the celebrated Benvenuto 
Cellini. The experienced eye will judge well enough, from the annexed drawing, of 
the value of the claim. 'The fancies of this artist ran on classical designs,' a remark 
well exemplified in this piece of work : and it is well enough illustrated by descrip- 
tions of some of his works, at pp. 15, 16, 79, in the life of him by Roscoe. 

It may be noted with respect to the lions at the base, that this animal formed 
the crest of Sir Walter Mildmay, and with that emblematic authority surmounts the 
entrance to the College. 

The top of the Cup is in two parts connected by a screw. 



The dimensions are as follow : 

Height of the Cup 8 in. 

Cover .... 7^ 

Diameter of the base 6 

bowl 10 outside. 

Depth of the bowl 9^ inside. 



The weight of the Cup is 63oz. lOdwt ; of the cover, 34oz. : in all 97oz. lOdwt. 

On the reverse of the arms are the letters W. M. joined together by a knot. 

The arms of Sir Walter Mildmay are thus blazoned by Cole, (lvi. 340,) from the 
College Book of Benefactors : Quarterly, 1st A. 3 lions rampant B. armed and langued : 
2nd B. on a canton Or, a mullet B. : Brd B. a cheveron emlattled 0. inter 3 roses 
Argent seeded Or : ^th Per fess nebule A. and S. 3 greyhounds'' heads coupes counter- 
changed, collared Or. 

Crest: a lion's head erased Or, gorged with a coronet B. Mantle G. lined A. 
sash G. tassels Or. 

This Cup has gone down the table many times and oft, in piam memoriam {Fun- 
datoris). But its exploits have been only of the day ; none of its triumphs have been 
written. It has lost none of its beauty by lapse of years ; and it is preserved with 
all the affection of obedient sons towards the revered Father and Founder. 
3 



18 



OOLLEGK PLATK, 



XII. A description of this singular piece is given at p. 491 in the Cambridge 
Portfolio. 

The hirgei- and more elaborate Cups arc sometimes called " Grace- Cups,"" from 
their privilege of going down the table at the close of dinner, before the saying 
Grace. The formal custom maintains its ground at not a few ancient corporate boards. 
And custom rules the draught also as well as the vessel. The plate-marks above- 
mentioned in v., VI,, and X., will be explained in part by reference to the present 
custom. There are five points in the Mark now used : (1) the manufacturer's 
name ; (2) the Lion gardant for the London Hall ; (3) the Leopard's head 
for the assay mark ; (4) the letter for the date, i. e. the year-mark, which is 
changed every year; (5) the Queen''s head, which is the duty-mark. The Table of 
dates of various marks kept at the Goldsmith's Hall does not go further back than 
1696. It may be observed also that each Hall, at a different place, as Exeter, 
Birmingham, &c., has its own mark. 

The subject of this number might very easily be extended : sufficient, however, it 
will perhaps be considered, has been done to show how much interest the subject is 
capable of affording. It may further be hoped that in each several College some member 
of it will be found to supply a description of what its treasures contain, and to fill 
up the measure of that which is here but commenced. 



9 




One of ArclLl)i.sLop Parker s XllI Apostle Spoons 



Tlah IV. 




CD. = 2f2 d." 
A.D = 7 d." 
£ F = Z oi". 



1782065 




,1 \^ 




Ike Cup of tkeTJicee Kings 

^crp: Chr: CoU: Coom: 




The Offering of fLe three Kmgs 

MS. Jf" CLXIZ Corp Chr Coll Ce^m: 



^/f.B.G-rensideEsq? del^ 



PrintetLtf G Hullmsaiilel. 



Tke Foimder's Cup m Emmaniiel College 




Int erior of tlie Bowl of the Founders Cup , 
Emm anuel College . 
Scaled. 



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